352 episodes

The simple sophisticate is someone who prefers quality over quantity, sensible living over mindless consumption, personal style instead of trendy fashions, has an insatiable curiosity for life’s endless questions and a desire to live a truly fulfilling life rather than being led around by the nose. Inspired by her lifestyle blog The Simply Luxurious Life, Shannon Ables (the original Simple Sophisticate) shares with listeners tips on how to live a refined life on an everyday income. From achieving your goals, preparing a memorable meal, creating a capsule wardrobe, traveling the world (Francophiles and Anglophiles tune in as Paris as well as the English countryside are favorite destinations), and living life to the fullest without breaking the bank, living well is really quite simple.

*illustration by artist Sarah Löcker exclusively commissioned for the show

The Simple Sophisticate - Intelligent Living Paired with Signature Style Shannon Ables

    • Education
    • 4.7 • 747 Ratings

The simple sophisticate is someone who prefers quality over quantity, sensible living over mindless consumption, personal style instead of trendy fashions, has an insatiable curiosity for life’s endless questions and a desire to live a truly fulfilling life rather than being led around by the nose. Inspired by her lifestyle blog The Simply Luxurious Life, Shannon Ables (the original Simple Sophisticate) shares with listeners tips on how to live a refined life on an everyday income. From achieving your goals, preparing a memorable meal, creating a capsule wardrobe, traveling the world (Francophiles and Anglophiles tune in as Paris as well as the English countryside are favorite destinations), and living life to the fullest without breaking the bank, living well is really quite simple.

*illustration by artist Sarah Löcker exclusively commissioned for the show

    330: 25 Ideas for Enjoying British Culture in Your Everyday Life

    330: 25 Ideas for Enjoying British Culture in Your Everyday Life

    The British culture is varied and vast and while one person's affection for the culture may include punk rock along with their love for the Beatles, another's affinities may gravitate toward the gardening and afternoon tea. While my predilections lean more toward the latter, whenever a culture speaks to us that is not the one in which we grew up in or were raised entirely, we owe it to ourselves to continue to explore because our intuition is speaking.


    As many readers of TSLL and listeners of the podcast know, TSLL derives much of its content from two cultures, the French and the British, specifically the ways of life that invite us to slow down, savor and invest in quality moments and approaches rather than quantity and superficial living to gain approval. Instead the only approval we seek is from within.


    In episode #144 I shared 20 ways for welcoming the French culture into your everyday life, and so it is well overdue that I should share a similar list for welcoming the British culture into your everyday life. After having now visited London on three separate occasions and the English countryside on two separate occasions, I enjoyed compiling this list as my life in Bend is a marriage of both my love of the French and British culture, incorporating from both the everyday rituals I love, savoring approaches, tastes, décor and ways of life that reminds me of two cultures that tickle my curiosity and nurture my true self most sincerely.


    Inspired by my most recent visit, but also drawing upon all of my experiences and fortunate opportunities to explore Britain, let's take a look at how we can welcome different ideas into our everyday life the British culture.







    ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #330

    ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music










     

    • 40 min
    329: 20 Life Lessons Learned on My Recent Trip to England

    329: 20 Life Lessons Learned on My Recent Trip to England

     
     


    To feel intrinsically connected with a culture other than the one you were raised involves the feeling of a coming home. A 'coming home' in a way that seems impossible until you feel it first-hand, deep in the marrow of your bones. As I share in detail in the introduction of the month of May in my new book The Road to Le Papillon: Daily Meditations on True Contentment, my first trip and time spent in the English countryside spoke to my inner most true self in a way I didn't expect, but completely understood.




    Returning to England this past April was life lifting. Noting not having visited since 2017, which I didn't realize consciously is nearly 5 years, ended a drought of British culture seen with my own eyes that I needed more than I realized. It was a figurative deep breath of fresh air that upon taking in, immediately brought a smile to my face and a calm to my being. While I didn't spend my time as I most enjoy for most of my days when I am in England, which is to rent a vacation rental out in the countryside and go about many days just savoring the everyday routines and visiting an occasional destination of interest, I was in Britain, and that was all that mattered. I saw places and spent time partaking in activities that further introduced a culture to me I had not done before, and for that I am grateful.


    In today's episode/post, I'd like to share with you 20 Life Lessons learned during these 3 1/2 days in Britain - both in London and in Kent as we took a train ride out to the southeast countryside of England and spent the night as we were intent to visit Sissinghurst Castle Garden, and oh what a treat that was.


    Let's take a look at the list:


    ~Note, if you tune in to the audio version, I share much more detail about each item on the list. Be sure to check out the podcast wherever you enjoy your favorite shows.






    ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #329

    ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    • 1 hr 11 min
    328: 15 Ideas to Savor Paris

    328: 15 Ideas to Savor Paris

    Today I would like to share with you 16 ideas for savoring Paris fully no matter how short your stay may be. As I have written about in my first book and referred to in my third, the Paris Syndrome is real, but the magic of Paris is real as well.


    Admittedly, I thoroughly enjoy the French countryside and appreciate and utilize my time in Paris for punctuating my visits as my trips begin and then as I conclude them before making my way to the airport or heading to England via the Eurostar. While in Paris, I give myself a day or two to soak up opportunities to explore exhibits, try new and different restaurants, step inside places I am most curious about as there is always something I have yet to see with my own eyes or simply sit on a terrasse and watch the city go about its day. The energy, the city itself is like no other, and it does seem to breathe new life, excite new ideas and bring them to the forefront for my attention to cease.


    My recent trip found me traveling with my mother who I invited to join me as I wanted to get my feet back onto the terra firma of the two countries I adore and write about here on TSLL after the nearly three year hiatus. With this being my mother's first trip to either country (France and Britain), I decided against stepping outside of Paris and instead tried to give her a taste of what makes the City of Light so special. Seeing so much in the span of just under three days was a bit overwhelming, but each experience was quite special. However, with this being my seventh visit to Paris, it solidified even more concretely what I enjoy spending my time doing when I visit no matter how much time I have and what enables me to truly savor, appreciate and revel in any opportunity to be there in person. Let's take a look at the list.








    ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #328

     

    • 47 min
    327: How to Change Your Brain So Your Mind (and thus you!) Can Thrive

    327: How to Change Your Brain So Your Mind (and thus you!) Can Thrive

    "Although your true nature may be hidden momentarily by stress and worry, anger and unfulfilled longings, it still continues to exist. Knowing this can be a great comfort."—Rick Hanson, PhD with Richard Mendius, MD, Buddha's Brain: The practical neuroscience of happiness, love and wisdom


    The mind's default is dialed to 'survive', not to thrive. However, the wonderful 'gift' that our brain has within it is the toolbox full of tools (i.e. capabilities) to learn the skills to change the dial to 'thrive'.


    There is a distinction, however slight between the brain and the mind, and while the two are often conflated, think of the brain as the physical entity within your skull and the mind, the conceptual idea maker that thinks due to the capabilities of the brain.


    With that said, the title refers to the truth of what will change your life for the better. The author of Buddha's Brain, Rick Hanson is a neuropsychologist shares along with the contributor, doctor in neurology Richard Mendius, "If I know one thing for sure, it's that you can do small things inside your mind that will lead to big changes in your brain and your experience of living . . . you really can nudge your whole being in a better direction every day. When you change your brain, you change your life."


    The secret that is often unknown unless we are taught, learn or observe it, is that we have to change the dial from 'survive' to 'thrive' and it is a muscle we have to keep toned. The question I have been asking for over two decades is How. And while I have been grateful to find books over the past twelve years, sharing so many of them and what I have here on TSLL, it was reading Buddha's Brain that provided the science that help me make sense of why my brain encourages my mind to default in certain ways that in hindsight are not helpful. (I will list the other previous books and their post/episodes below.)


    1.Practice the three fundamentals of Buddha's teachings: Virtue, Mindfulness and Wisdom


    Since our brain and how it functions is the reason we suffer, yet we can change the brain, then we can also cure the suffering. Hanson summarizes what Siddartha who over two thousand years ago, at the time not yet called Buddha, discovered as he trained his mind "thus his brain" while understanding the causes of suffering, also discovered the "path to freedom from suffering".


    Let's take a look at what each of these three look like in everyday life:


    Virtue: "regulating your actions, words and thoughts to create benefits rather than harm yourself or others" Mindfulness: "the skillful use of attention to both your inner and outer worlds" Wisdom: "applied common sense . . . first, come to understand what hurts and what helps . . . then based on this understanding, let go of those things that hurt and strengthen those that help . . . as a result, over time you'll feel more connected with everything, more serene about how all things change and end, and more able to meet pleasure and pain without grasping after the one and struggling with the other"

    2. Prolong feelings of happiness


    Did you know that as "you become a happier person, the left front region of your brain becomes more active"? Yep. And this is a very good thing because the left frontal region of your brain is where your skills for communication and thinking abstractly as well as understanding abstraction are rooted. When we consciously prolong and hold ourselves in moments of happiness, in other words, savor them deeply, we are actually rewiring our brain, and "when neurons fire together, they wire together". When we do this regularly, savoring what is good, what makes us happy, we are gradually, yet steadily and significantly changing our brains, and thus 'how we think' for the better.


    3. You don't need more resources, you already have what you need


    The key to changing our brains is not to have more money, more time or well, anything outside of o

    • 57 min
    326: A Life of Abundant Bliss: A Natural State of True Contentment

    326: A Life of Abundant Bliss: A Natural State of True Contentment

     
     


    "To attain wealth, the lasting kind, the kind that gives your life meaning, value and sustenance, base your daily existence on the generosity of spirit. Everything else you desire will follow of its own accord." —Deepak Chopra, Abundance: The Inner Path to Wealth




    To experience great joy in our everydays is to experience bliss.


    If ever you find yourself smiling in the middle of your everydays just because, if you are me anyway, you are experiencing a bliss-filled moment.


    We may find it surprising or difficult at first to imagine the possibility to experience such a natural state going about a life routine that happens nearly everyday, but that is exactly the point to living consciously. This is exactly why choosing to understand what true contentment is makes all the difference.


    ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #326

    ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    • 49 min
    325: 10 Ideas for Reveling in the Spring Season

    325: 10 Ideas for Reveling in the Spring Season

     
     




    Spring kicked off officially yesterday, March 20th in the Northern Hemisphere, and as I worked out in my garden, ever so gently, signs of spring were definitely emerging.


    Over the years here on the blog and podcast, there have been many posts celebrating the arrival of the spring season, and well, we all could be nourished by some brightness of spring, so I thought I would bring yet another such post/episode your way.


    Below are 10 more ideas for reveling in the start of a season that arrives with the buoyant determination to grow, restart and find the awesomeness that surrounds us.


    ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #325 View the Show Notes - https://thesimplyluxuriouslife.com/podcast325


    ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    • 49 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
747 Ratings

747 Ratings

Minnesota Luxurious Living ,

A bright star in my day!

Shannon Ables is producing content that brightens every day for me! Her podcast is so intelligently put together that I feel “lifted up” after each airing and like I want to raise the bar on my own life! Listening to Shannon is like sharing some time with a real friend, a friend who you not only admire but also someone who wants the best for you. I find that when I take her suggestions of books, movies, or life experiences, I am always glad I did. For anyone who is looking to enjoy simple sophistication in all of life, look no further!

Altadena Book Lady ,

The Simple Sophisticate

I ran across Shannon’s podcast about a year ago, and now am delightedly making my way through the archives. I haven’t ever heard her say that she was trained as a broadcaster, but I really appreciate her “radio voice:” skilled delivery and very pleasant listening. Now that I get how much she is a “lifelong learner,” I’m sure that is no accident and that she worked hard to train herself in that skill set. Beyond that, I love the mix of philosophy, food, style and lifestyle, always delivered in an accessible way instead of feeling elite or esoteric. At first I could not have imagined myself signing on as a “top tier member” of her blog, but then I realized that she consistently produces really quality content that is worth paying for. Thank you, Shannon!
—Betsy Kahn, Altadena, California

bkinney06 ,

Inspiring and nourishing

Hello Shannon!

Listening to your podcast (I’m a late comer) has been a nourishing, inspiring and curiosity sparking part of my day that I look forward to every week. I find myself taking notes from almost every episode! I found your podcast at just the right moment in my life, when I was ready to hear much of what you have to say, I’ve been perpetually pleasantly surprised as the episodes I hear dovetail so well with places in my life that I might be feeling stuck or need some inspiration to improve. Thank you!

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